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Equal to the Sum of the Parts

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Fuzzybear, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. Fuzzybear

    Fuzzybear Contributing Member

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    Posting in the GARM seems to have calmed down so here's some thoughts that I have had that look at our issues from a different perspective.


    We have been a team that has historically exceeded expectations. Our identity reached its peak in the 7-game series versus the Lakers. As much as I don't like Shane, I will never forget that blood-stained image of him. Scola and Landry Manning up against the softer Gasol and Odom and Artest getting into Kobe's face are lasting memories of our Rocket identity.


    Our identity was:

    We are tough, we don't give up, we fight to the end, and we don't care how "good" you think you are. There are games to be played, and we play them harder than you. Opposing coaches have often been quoted to say "if you don't match the Rocket's intensity, they will kick your ***". A great source of our Rocket pride has been based upon this blue-collar distinction that has been afforded us.

    No Layups - As Raheel and Nuno base their namesake on - is yet another philosophy that has historically been true. We have rarely been seen as a cakewalk defense, and this year is truly an aberration.


    Why we are losing this identity
    Reason #1: The increased burden on Scola + WChampionships fatigue.
    No Landry has meant more minutes for Scola. Full-tilt Scola has the burden of now being the only reliable threat inside with the loss of Yao. Increased minutes and WC fatigue has made it more difficult for him to "grind" it out as a player.

    Reason #2: Overall lack of athleticism (and size)
    While I like to point out Battier, the truth is that Ariza wasn't that great, he just filled our need for athletic size at SOME position. We have one player who is clearly on par in terms of athletic size, Jordan Hill. He is magnified when we play him for this very reason. Without Athletic Size, it's difficult to play hard and gamble now and again. Tentativeness can result knowing that your teammates will have a hard time covering for your mistakes.

    Reason #3: Transition away from our defensive principles under JVG.
    For the last 3 years, we have benefitted from having both the defense left behind by the JVG era and the increased ball-movement from the RA one. This identity is slowing leaving us. As many would say "JVG would be rolling over in his grave" watching our current team.

    Some realistic changes

    Change #1: Fouling
    We need to not worry about this "defense without fouling" aspect that is a staple of Morey's philosophy so much. We need to get back to No Layups. Once this is reestablished, we can go back to toning it down to "defense with less fouling". This is especially true with the depth that we have (minus the PG position at the moment)

    Change #2: We need to slow the game down
    While we have success early in the shot clock, I think our lack of athleticism is most exposed in the open court. Heat-check 3's (esp. Martin) while decent at putting up points often cause a scramble going the other way and doesn't allow our defense to get set.

    Change #3: We need to complement our starters with athleticism
    Currently, Hill at center would help our team a great deal purely for the fact that it would add more movement to our offense and help our defensive recovery.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. rockets934life

    rockets934life Contributing Member

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    I agree with your overall premise but couple things I do disagree with, we have athleticism and size. Lee, Bud, Hill, and even Lowry(when healthy) are all athletic and Miller, Hill, Jeffries and obviously Yao are all big guys that can create matchup problems. I've mentioned it in the past but our defense is just not good enough to slow the game down, we will get eaten alive in a half court set trying to defend with AB, Martin and Scola.

    I VERY much agree on Hill, the guy NEEDS to get more minutes even if he struggles a bit. I'm not a fan of pulling him at a rough patch and letting him rot on the bench the rest of the game, play the kid and let him work through his tough stretches.

    We have moved away from JVG's ideals simply because we don't have the players to do so anymore. Scola while average to below average on defense gives you everything he has but AB and Martin do not have the physical tools to do so and that is just something the team has to or already has realized.

    I think we need to decide, are we an up-tempo squad or a half court team? We can try both but Yao's issues make it REALLY hard to make it happen and create chemistry. The silver lining to Yao's ankle injury is now the guys will get a stable starting lineup and build something together.
     
    #2 rockets934life, Nov 12, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  3. Don FakeFan

    Don FakeFan Member

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    Why are we losing this identity?

    1. Yao's situation. Yao and the team are playing for Yao's recovery, not for the wins. The team have no direction right now.
    2. The Ariza trade. It really depleted Rockets' defense on the wing.

    Solution:
    1. Sit Yao and openly seek to trade Yao. Let the team set for normal.
    2. Find a clone of Ariza who can help Battier on defensive end. Jefferies might be the answer?
     
  4. dachuda86

    dachuda86 Member

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    I agree with Jordan Hill at Center. He is a shot blocker, rebounded and dunker. What more do we need? Let the kid live in a five foot radius around the hoop and dominate.
     
  5. koby1868

    koby1868 Member

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    You make some very valid points Fuzzybear. The Rockets used to have the reputation of being a team full of pitbulls and defense is what won games for us.

    I do think the increased work load with Scola is eventually going to catch up to him this season but as of now he hasn't shown it in my opinion. 23 points and 12 boards a game... I think he's somewhat carrying us right now.

    As for the lack of athleticism, I don't so much agree. I think we are a youthful team with a ton of athleticism. I just don't think the rotations are right currently.

    I do agree with your suggested changes though. Not allowing easy buckets and taking advantage of the depth is something the Rockets should look into. But slowing the game down puts us at a disadvantage, most of the players on our current roster thrive in the uptempo system the RA has implimented. I think that a change in the starting lineup would do the team some good for sure.

    I do have a couple suggestion myself that I think could be beneficial to the success of the Rockets.

    1. When Yao returns allow him to come off the bench and play against the opposing teams back-up big man. It will be easier to go to Yao against the second unit and it allows our second unit to have some scoring options.

    2. Our starting line-up should be as follows:
    PG- Ish (for now until Lowry is 100% healthy)
    SG- Martin
    SF- Budinger (he's struggling now but moving him to a starter would give him some confidence)
    PF- Scola
    C- J. Hill

    3. With the changes in the starting lineup alot of people would think we would be losing most of our offense in our second unit. I don't think so if it looked something like this:
    PG- Lowry (once again for now until he's healthy)
    SG- Lee
    SF- Battier
    PF- Hayes (playing in his true position)
    C- Yao/Miller

    With these changes it makes our first unit more explosive allowing us an opportunity to gain a big lead before bringing in our defensive oriented second unit that isn't lacking in scoring either.
     
  6. htownrox1

    htownrox1 Member

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    Well thought out post.

    I agree that our identity reached its peak in game 7 of the series against L.A. Missing Landry I think hurt us more than we realize. Like some have mentioned, this team doesn't have an identity and thats why we are floundering. The OP is right, we need to get back to that toughness we used to have. I don't know if no lay-ups is the key, but something needs to be done.

    I think the main fact is that we just don't have that many tough gritty players. I don't know if you can make players tough but Rick needs to put some fire in them! Jordan Hill also needs to start.
     
  7. ashishduh

    ashishduh Contributing Member

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    I'd like to see the defensive numbers in the AB era before and after Martin. I'm pretty sure the lack of two strong wing defenders in the lineup (battier + artest/ariza) is the only difference between the #2(then) defense in the league and #27(now)
     
  8. greatpacha1

    greatpacha1 Member

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    if martin would get his old defensive nature back...we would be sick...it would help tons...where did it go?
     
  9. makman

    makman Member

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    Old defensive nature? I was unaware he has or ever had such a thing. Toothpick Mcgee doesn't play d
     
  10. makman

    makman Member

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    We had Ariza for a year, he was average and now he's gone get over it. And you thinking that they would trade Yao is about the dumbest thing I've heard in awhile. What exactly would you get for a center who's limited and injury prone?? Oh....Maybe Greg Oden.
     
  11. Don FakeFan

    Don FakeFan Member

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    Ariza was average but he was not as bad as current 27th defense and 1:6 record achieved by the old team plus Yao+Miller+Lee.

    Yao has value in his cap space and 24 minutes contribution. what exactly trade for? who the hell knows? you have to try first. Getting Yao out of the heads of the Rockets is a plus.
     
  12. makman

    makman Member

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    Ariza looks good now because Hornets are undefeated and he's playing with CP3, but lets not forget all his stupid shots, terrible ball handling, and gambling on steals. With this current team he would be even more of a liability.

    Yao out of our heads? He's the face of the franchise and just getting rid of him is far more than a basketball decision and too many people's pockets would take a hit. He hasn't had enough time to adjust and if we did trade him (won't happen), then you might as well trade Battier, Scola, and whoever else because it will be rebuilding time.
     
  13. JLOBABYDADDY

    JLOBABYDADDY Member

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    The only problem I have with Hill down low is that he gets absolutely PUNISHED in the paint on defense. Maybe if he knows he will be a defensive center for years to come, he will bulk up about 15-20 pounds.
     
  14. makman

    makman Member

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    Exactly. Not sure how he's a shot blocker or solid rebounder he tries his best and really only excels against jump shooting big man. He has no leg strength to keep people out of the paint.
     
  15. thetatomatis

    thetatomatis Member

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    Thats a pretty good breakdown. I think people underrate Arizas toughness. We has Artest the year before one of the toughest guys in the league. Then replace Ariza for a money dump which was not a basketball decision by Morey. He clearly dumped Ariza for money reasons. His first mistake. Ariza was tough and athletic. Two of your reasons on the list got lost with that transition. Shane Battier got put in the lineup with that. You got Courtney Lee back who is athletic but doesnt start. You really dont have Yao back this season. We might have actually taken a step back. In fact we dont have Brooks too this year early for a few games.
     
  16. Half Nelson

    Half Nelson Member

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    When I think about the toughness the Rockets used to have, I think about guys like Landry, Artest, Battier, Scola, Deke, Lowry, and the Chuckwagon. Now that we lost Landry and Artest, we only have Battier, Scola, the Chuck wagon and Lowry to hold down that identity. Also, Battier is on the decline and Lowry is injured. It might be time to let go of our toughness completely and turn over a new leaf because I don't think we'll ever revert to our old ways unless some major changes happen.
     
  17. Russjr2

    Russjr2 Contributing Member

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    'ClutchFans', where you find current and future NBA GMs and HOF Coaches. All the answers are posted right here.
     
  18. makman

    makman Member

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    Don't like it? Don't read.
     

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